Two enter, one leaves. Choose your weapon wisely, train hard, and it might just be you. The arena-fighter has been a staple of the video game genre since the days of the arcade, pitching casts of characters that have grown and become increasingly elaborate and detailed as the technology and demand have risen.
As more and more fighting games are released, and other challengers step onto the field of battle – Marvel and DC, Capcom, Nintendo – there’s a lot of very memorable, and incredibly powerful combatants who deserve their own hall of fame. For now they’ll have to make do with our Top 10 Fighting Game Characters.
10) Battletoads – Killer Instinct
The amphibians with a ‘tude so bad it can’t be spelled in full, the Battletoads have fallen into a weird kind of legendary status in gaming history. The creator of Banjo Kazooie crafted these characters who would appear in a handful of titles back in the 90’s for them to fade into obscurity for quite some time until nostalgia resurrected the love enough to start seeing Rash, Zitz, and Pimple start popping up elsewhere, such as the under-recognised arena-fighter Killer Instinct.
A guest on the roster, complete with all of the weird mutations like feet that would spontaneously turn into spiked boots, goat horns that appear for long enough to really drive home that headbutt, and the ability to transform bodily into a wrecking ball. Much like Battletoads, Killer Instinct appeared briefly for a couple of titles in the 90’s before being resurrected, and who knows, Rare have a fourth Battletoads game that was never seen, and a few more cameos might just lay the path for a return from obscurity.
9) Noel Vermillion – BlazBlue
Noel is one of the twelve original characters from the BlazBlue lineup, a fighting franchise which has grown reasonably well. Known as the Calamity Trigger, Successor of the Blue and the Eye of the Blue she’s hugely pivotal to BlazBlue’s story… As she is in fact the main heroine. With her bright blond hair and her massive guns (no seriously, they’re ridiculously oversized), she looks to send her foes packing.
There’s sadly not too much to say here: She’s an artificial human instead of a regular one, so there’s that. She obtained her guns, Bolverk, at a relatively early age. She was adopted by the kind and respected Vermillion family and that’s really her main story. She joined the military academy after learning that the Vermillions future wasn’t looking so good, so she fights in their name.
8) Deadpool – Marvel vs Capcom
We just can’t seem to get through a list without Deadpool popping up somewhere. The Merc not only breaks the fourth wall but also can’t contain himself within his own genre. Granted the Marvel vs Capcom series pitches the full roster of the Marvel Universe high-ups against the most famous faces from Capcom’s back-catalogue, and yet still ‘Pool can’t take it seriously.
In the grand old tradition of Fighting Games, Deadpool announces his attacks like “Bang, bang bang! Bangbangbangbangbang!!”, Pineapple Surprise, and Shoryuken – which I’m pretty sure he stole. In the grand old tradition of Deadpool in a computer game, he bludgeons his opponent over the head with pieces of the GUI! Can he not leave anything alone?
7) Millia Rage – Guilty Gear
What’s not to like about kicking serious butt when you’ve also got ridiculously long, blonde, flowing locks? That’s right, we can only be talking about Millia Rage and her outrageously strong blonde hair. She’s Russian, she’s strong, she’s an ex-assassin and her hair has magical powers that lets her use it in combat. Yeah, exactly what you just read – She’s got magical hair, but she’s no Rapunzel*. Her hair can come off and yes, it’s painful!
Millia has only one purpose in the tournament: She wants to find and beat her ex-partner – Zato-1. Having been an orphan as a kid, one mission as an assassin she was sent to go and kill a 2 year old king. Needless to say, the kind-hearted assassin couldn’t, so she breaks away from the assassins guild and now is looking for Zato-1 to eliminate him. She certainly has the powers to do it. Her hair is infused with the forbidden beast; Angra.
*I mean, okay, it depends what version of Rapunzel you read/watch…
6) Goku – Dragon Ball Xenoverse
The real question is, which Goku?
Dragon Ball Xenoverse is a truly wonderful fighting game for those of you into the Dragon Ball universe as a whole. It’s full of characters you really wouldn’t expect to see in there, as well as all the obvious ones. Characters from Gohan and Krillin, through to Raspberry and even a special character called Jaco (one of Akira Toriyama’s other works). There’s so much range, as well as our own custom created character to choose from, so why Goku?
Well let’s be honest: We all have different characters we love from Dragon Ball for many different reasons. But ultimately, the story revolves around Goku and all of his umpteen billion forms. So, it’s hard to not get excited by seeing every single variant of Goku possible in the Dragon Ball Xenoverse game. Well, of course, that’s not strictly true. There’s a few missing and by the time this has been written, I’m sure there are going to be even more missing forms.
5) Gang Beasts
When you’ve run out of ideas for characters but you’re still spoiling for a fight, it’s time to turn primary colours against one another. Gang Beasts pitches little jelly like blobs against one another in strange and dangerous locations, as they softly grapple and drag each other into deadly situations. They’re completely incapable of doing any damage themselves of course, but that doesn’t make them any less determined to beat the living hell out of one another.
From the studio that brought you Psychonauts and Costume Quest comes an equally adorable arena fighter for two to four friends who enjoy nothing more than mutual hilarious destruction. Duke it out on subway platforms, window-washing scaffolds, and in those weird rooms that are just blades everywhere for no readily apparent reason. Remember, you’re only weapons are dragging each other around; the Gang Beasts have officially weaponised the hug.
4) Voldo – Soul Calibur
We couldn’t leave Soul Calibur off the list, so we went with, you guessed it, one of the earliest characters from the franchise. Voldo is… Unique. He’s certainly the most unique character on this list. He’s also incredibly frustrating to play against if you don’t know of what his moveset consists of. If I were to describe Voldo in a few words, they would be ‘Contortionist serial killer with a bondage fetish’.
People often pick Voldo when they know how he’s played. It’s rare to see people pick him just because they like the visual design, which is jarring and quite offputting to say the least. Still, whether or not you’re a fan of the guy who is seemingly all writhing muscle or not, he’s a staple of the Soul Calibur franchise and he’s not going to go away anytime soon. Now, excuse me, I need to go and wash after seeing such slinky arms and spines.
3) Raiden – Mortal Kombat
The God of thunder had to make an appearance here and let’s be really honest… Think about Mortal Kombat and you probably wouldn’t put Raiden at number one on your list. You might think, say, Sub Zero, or Scorpion. In fact, you’d probably think of the ninjas over most other characters. However, Raiden is a character unto himself, who has always been hugely popular.
He’s been in Mortal Kombat since the very beginning, as well as being one of the few characters to have recurred in every game in the franchise. Hugely powerful, highly memorable and he isn’t just a recolour of the ninjas. Plus, for those of you into Mortal Kombat X, he has one of the most brutal fatalities in the game. Although, to be fair, that whole game is riddled with those brutalities.
2) Blanka – Street Fighter
From Brazil comes the strangest of the Street Fighter roster, the big green ogre with the wild mane of orange bristles, and the field of static bolts that arc from his skin that protect him, not that Blanka has much need of protection. Massive muscles, bestial agility, and vicious tusks and claws actually make him a more than capable combatant, but his almost supernatural powers make him competitive on the level of fireball hurling yogis and flying military-types.
Blanka was originally Jimmy, but life in the rainforests of Brazil apparently led to some rather drastic changes in physiology, exposure to electric eels and the like, kind of a spider-man vibe. After accidentally hitching a lift to civilization, Blanka learned to fight under Dan Hibiki, and yet somehow got good at it. He’s a famous face on the Street Fighter line-up, easily as much as Ryu and Ken, so much so it’d be hard to imagine the game without him.
1) Heihachi Mishima – Tekken
Heihachi Mishima, the head of the Mishima Zaibatsu, the organisation that oversees the King of the Iron Fist Tournament. Heihachi has been the leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu for many of the King of the Iron Fist Tournaments, he’s been pretty successful overall too. He’s even gone on to win some of the tournaments himself. He’s embroiled in a constant struggle with his own family, Jin Kazama and Kazuya Mishima.
Kazuya, his son, has the devil gene in him. As such, Kazuya’s son, Jin Kazama, also has the devil gene. Heihachi, being the crafty old man that he is, has fought his entire life to keep control of the vast wealth of the Mishima Zaibatsu and hasn’t ever had the devil gene. Instead, he’s wily and rather cruel, creating the tournament, so he has an elaborate way to see if Kazuya has hardened up. One thing he’d really like to do though: Send his son and his grandson to space on a spaceship. Strapped to the side of said ship, of course.
He’s really eccentric – He’s a billionaire and he’s all-round not the nicest guy on the block… But he really doesn’t care about that. He has a plan and this summer, in Tekken 7, the story of the Mishima Zaibatsu is going to finally come to an end. This is one family feud that I wish wouldn’t come to an end.
In any contest there are winners, and there are losers. But with such prestigious names laying claim to our Top 10, it’s only fair we allow the losers the chance to scrap it out for the consolation prize. Here’s a nod to the worthy few who never touched the trophy but put up a damn good fight.
Mr. Game and Watch – Smash Brothers Brawl
This is a bit of a weak subject for me (This is Joel by the way) but for someone with no particular love of consoles, fighting games or multiplayer anything I have a real soft spot Smash Brother Brawl. But who do you pick from the roster of little boys with baseball bats, little pink blobs with eating issues, or the – It’s Game and Watch. I mostly played Meta Knight, but damn, the guy flips sausages and swings his hammer to completely random effect.
It’s hard to be 2D in a 3D world, but at least you have a choice of colours. Your allies in the crazy messed up fight to the death with these modern types include an angry turtle and physics defying firemen. It may seem like the odds are stacked against you, but everything’s odd, and the only thing you’re stacking is damage my friend! And even better, you’re not Luigi. Seriously Luigi, what the hell are you doing?
Create A Wrestler (CAWs)
Everybody likes to be part of the game, now don’t they? Whether it’s being picked in a sports game, or if it’s just being able to say “look everyone, I’m in this game”, we’ve all done it. Many of you will be familiar with creating families in The Sims. Don’t lie: You put yourself in that game at some point, just to see if you could manage to have a good, healthy life, or if you’d sit around in your underwear eating nothing but pizza.
The Create A Wrestler, known as CAWs, is the ability to add yourself into the game. Come up with your own pro wrestling moves, give yourself an outrageously funky tune and boom – You’ve got yourself in the game, wrestling icons such as Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and The Rock. However, some CAWs go further than just adding the player in the game. Some CAWs aren’t created equally. Here’s a fantastic video of some CAWs that hit the right points with many wrestling fans.
It’s a technical knockout! Our winners have been awarded, the losers have been scraped off the floor and the crowds are going home. We’ve fought in the ring, in the streets and in all manner of weird locations to declare our final victor, but did the referees make the right call? While you deliberate, tell us who to pitch against each other for next week’s Top 10.
Choose your fighter! Have we missed your champion from the roster? Who should have thrown in the towel, and who should be holding the belt? Have your say in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. Join us every day for more geeky content, and come back next week for another Top 10.